U.S. officials and national security experts chronically exaggerate foreign threats, suggesting that the world is scarier and more dangerous than ever. But that is just not true. From the U.S. perspective, at least, the world today is remarkably secure, and Washington needs a foreign policy that reflects that reality.
With the rise of endless irregular wars playing out in the shadows, special operations have never been more important to U.S. national security. But policymakers and commanders focus too much on dramatic raids and high-tech drone strikes. They need to pay more attention to an even more important task these forces take on: training foreign troops.
Reports that U.S. troops may have killed 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq, last November have renewed fears that the U.S. military routinely violates the laws of war. But is the Haditha incident the exception or the rule? In fact, U.S. compliance with noncombatant immunity in Iraq has been relatively high by historical standards, and it has been improving since the beginning of the war.